Following a recent case at a hospital in Tondo, Manila, the Department of Health (DOH) has made recommendations to avoid contracting meningococcemia,.
The emergency room of Gat Andres Bonifacio Memorial Medical Center in Tondo, Manila has been closed off Wednesday due to a suspected meningococcemia case.
Meningococcemia is a bacterial infection that originates from a person’s throat, according to Dr. Chito Avelino, director of the DOH’s Epidemiology Bureau
Dr Avelino added that the disease does not affect normal healthy persons. Meningococcemia has a carrier stage. When you say carrier stage or carrier person, the person may have or harbored the bacteria but may not manifest the signs and symptoms of meningococcemia.
A middle-aged woman was rushed to the hospital in Tondo early Wednesday for a different ailment. However, doctors saw rashes on her foot, which are among the telling symptoms of meningococcemia. The physicians then ruled the woman was exhibiting all clinical symptoms of the infection.
The woman is still confined in the hospital as of press time. She has undergone confirmatory laboratory tests that were forwarded to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicines in Muntinlupa City. “We get to know the results two to three days from now,” Avelino said.
He explained when a person’s immune system is weakened, the bacteria become virulent and invade a person’s blood. When the bacteria get circulated in the body, they will affect the person’s organs, including the brain.
One of the parts of the body that it affects is the brain, that is why there are meningeal signs and symptoms. A patient suffers from convulsions or comatose.
The epidemiologist said the infection is contagious and is spread through droplets or the saliva of the infected person.
The DOH recommended the following steps to avoid the infection:
- Don’t go to overcrowded areas
- Avoid being exposed to tobacco smokes
- If you don’t feel good, have yourself checked by a doctor and don’t self-medicate
- Build your resistance by Increasing fluid intake, eating fruits, and doing regular exercise
The DOH added everyone should observe proper flu etiquette. People should cover their mouth when coughing or sneezing. Regular washing of hands is also imperative.
You should decontaminate the area so it won’t be a source of illness transmission to other patients who will be brought in the area.
Now the hospital in Tondo where there is suspected infection to contain and decontaminate the premises to avoid the disease from spreading.
The health official said even if the woman’s laboratory result has yet to be released, the hospital was instructed to follow protocols in attending to a patient infected with meningococcemia.
Although there had been reported 12 people infected with the disease, five of which already died, the DOH still cannot conclude that there is an epidemic.
However, Dr. Avelino said that due to people’s vulnerability to sickness at this time of the season, the disease could spread.
The DOH said there have been 12 people infected with meningococcemia in the country, five of them died since the year started.
Six cases were confirmed to have contracted the disease by laboratory tests, while the remaining patients who showed clinical symptoms either have died or have pending laboratory results, Avelino said.
The agency expects to receive all hospital reports within the week.